Dealing with Failed Workouts

Just some background, I’m new to Trainer Road and just finished completing SSBMV1 & 2, and this Monday took the ramp test for the Sustained Power plan and saw some nice improvements!
218->233 in SSB1
233->240 mid SSB2 as the workouts began to feel easier
240->260 at the end of SSB2
I am 23, 6’2" and 151 lbs for reference.

After taking the ramp test Monday, Avalanche Spire was Thursday which I completed without issue and felt good with the new FTP. Today however was Red Lake +8, which while I knew would be challenging with the new FTP, but thought it would be fine. This was all well and good until I blew up in spectacular fashion at the start of the 4th interval. This is the first workout I have failed, and its left me feeling incredibly disappointed in myself, and in a bit of a soured mood.
How does everyone else deal with such failures?


Once you get later in the plan progression, failed workouts will eventually happen. It’s what happens when you are pushing your fitness limits.

Red Lake +8 is a hard workout. You might need to notch the intensity down a few ticks or take a few backspins.

One or two failed workouts is not a cause for concern and can help you understand areas to target in the future (or give you a guideline to adjust your intensity slightly to give you better chance of completing them).


You did test on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off, high intensity Thursday with a new FTP and then another hard ride today and blew up?

Sorry i should have clarified, monday was ramp. Tuesday recovery ride, wednesday rest, then thursday and friday on. The thursday over unders went well, which made today even more defeating.

I wouldn’t worry too much. Maybe consider dialing the intensity down from 100% a little depending on how you feel during your sweet spot workout. A 20 watt jump going into build would make those workouts incredibly difficult for anyone. Red lake and those other supra threshold workouts are some the hardest ones in the library (imo).

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Normally there is a day of rest or aerobic riding between the over-unders and the Supra-threshold workouts since they are both intense workouts. Is there a reason you pushed them to be back to back?


This layout of days has just worked really well with my schedule, and hadnt been a problem yet. I havent swapped the order of them, just moved some forward and back. Would it be best to move everything to the standard format, especially now moving into build? I really appreciate the feedback.

It’s usually easier to manage back to back sweetspot than it is to deal with above threshold workouts back to back.

I’d suggest giving yourself adequate recovery so you can give the hardest workouts the best effort possible :muscle:t4:


Rest Hard easy hard easy hard moderate

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Failed workouts happen!

Any number of reasons could have led to you cracking during that workout (e.g., impending illness, inadequate rest/sleep, 20W bump in FTP, back to back hard workouts, etc… ) Nothing to worry about unless it becomes a habit. In other words, do not overthink it!

Assuming you stopped once you blew up? Instead, maybe you could have gone to resistance mode for the rest of failed interval 4 and then back to ERG during the following rest interval. Thus, giving you a longer rest and letting you regroup mentally and physically for #5. Something to consider for the next time you start crack mentally or physically.

“Somedays you’re the bug, somedays you’re the windshield”

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Thats a great point I hadn’t thought about. I think i performed better on this ramp than previous ones, and that would probbaly lend itself to not being able to handle back to back hard days as I have previously. I will definitely be adjusting my schedule!
Kikr, you would be correct, and I appreciate the advice, that would have been a lot better than just stopping. Live and learn! You’re comment on not overthinking it hits home, as thats what im definitely doing, and the reason i posted! The input from others with much more experience is exactly what i needed.

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Don’t worry about it. Your 23, 6’2 with 260 FTP. Keep up the training and you’ll be 300 in no time.

My one and only got at doing Red Lake +8 I got through the first interval (barely) then knew I wouldn’t make it through any more at 100% so dropped the intensity.

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Putting this into context: you’ve finished 62 out of 63 workouts (assuming you’ve completed every work out in SSBMV1&2) - that’s 98%…and seen a 40W bump whilst doing it…

…I really wouldn’t worry!


“Hello, Forest. Nice to see you after looking at all these trees” :stuck_out_tongue:

Great perspective, @d_diston


i literally just had an almost identical experience interestingly just now …

20min test on tues - Avanlanche Spire on thurs felt great at new FTP BUT Red Lake +8 nearly killed me today … i only just made it through but w/o a doubt it was on of the hardest TR sessions i have ever done by far. The IF of 0.85 was misleading!

I am spent afterwards … so don’t worry – i feel the same and makes me wonder if the workout is much harder after an FTP assessment than it might seem … you are NOT alone today dude!

Also its good to remember sometimes that ANY work you do is a win … you still showed up and did your best. Even if you cut a session short! Its all part of the bigger picture.

But yup solidarity from me today - i am RUINED


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I try to keep a ride journal of successful/challenging workouts. Just something simple to trigger my memory. And pulling up comments on workouts after 15 years can be incredibly rewarding…even the “failed” workouts.


I think @stevemz nailed it (as usual). These things happen and I’d be more worried if you never failed a workout, honestly. I remember hearing a coach describe on a podcast (can’t remember which one…sorry) that training is like popping a bag of microwave, you want to make sure you get most of the kernels popped, but if you go too far then you’ve burnt the whole bag. For most of us, it’s probably better to err on the side of leaving a few kernels unpopped and a failed workout is a great learning experience of where that line is.

One thing to really look at is what your nutrition was like in the 24-36 hours leading up to the workout. Did you eat enough carbs? Did you properly refuel after your last workout? There’s a lot more room for error in the early part of SSB, but it starts to real super quick and your nutrition has to be on point.


There is a lot of great insight from everyone, and I cant thank everyone enough for chiming in. The bag of popcorn is a great way to look at it, and definitely reinforces using this as a learning experience to make me better in the future.
As for fueling, this is something im reallly struggling with, as I find it difficult to eat enough to fuel these workouts. It is definitely an area I am looking to improve.

I workout in the evenings and make sure I have a very healthy portion of carbs for lunch before big workouts. Depending on how long between when I had lunch and when I’m riding, I might pop a gel beforehand and maybe one during the middle of the ride if I’m riding for longer than an hour.

If you’re working out in the morning, then make sure you’re eating enough for dinner the day before (and maybe even a snack after) and have something right before you get on the bike in the mornings.